Translated  Books

It's hard as a non-native speaker to be speaking to my daughter in Korean all the time. Sometimes it's hard to read to my daughter when I don't know all the vocabulary. So I found I was searching for books whose stories I already knew (or could buy) in English. Below is a list of those books to help some of you non-native Korean-speakers who are raising your kids to learn Korean. It's really difficult to search for English titles in Korean sometimes, and even harder to know which translations are decent. I would love for the work I put in to help someone else in the future.

The books below are basically in order of difficulty. I have everything linked to the US Aladin site, but you can always cut and paste the titles into your favorite Korean bookseller. 

Enjoy!

Andrea

Book List

  1. My favorite early readers were actually the books I created for my daughter. They're here.

  2. 받침 없는 책 - No bottom-consonant books (These don't have English counterparts, but they're great early reader books.) My only advice is to not buy too many of these. No need to buy the whole series. Once your kid gets the hang of one of these books, they can be onto more natural language. The language in these books is stilted, since the authors are restricted from using any words with 받침. I'd say my daughter moved on from these when she was about 4 or 5.

  3. 그림 책 - Reading lots and lots of picture books in Korean is best. The natural language without translation is always best. There are tons of books and resources for this, so I won't go into these. But I have to mention it.) Now that my daughter is 6, she doesn't seem to be interested in the picture books as much anymore. She will pull one out every few days, but it's not a daily draw anymore. 

  4. 치스 쉬트 홈 - Chi's Sweet Home series. Lots of sounds, and less words than most books. This was huge for my 5yo. She would read for an hour on her own, giggling and gawking at the pictures. She got a lot of confidence from reading these Chi books alone. 

  5. 꼬마 곰 - Little Bear series. Full sentences. Simple vocabulary. 

  6. 개구리와 두꺼비 Frog and Toad series. Sets of short stories in each book. 

  7. National Geographic grades 1-4. Each book focuses on an animal. There are a handful of books in each "grade," and the vocabulary and grammar gets more complicated with each grade. Graded reading material seems to be in short stock in Korean, so this was a real find. This is out of print. But if you can find it used, it's an amazing set.

  8. 도그맨 - Dog Man series. Hilarious. My kid just laughed at the pictures until she could understand the storylines. Along with Chi, these are some of the first books she read fully on her own. 

  9. 캡틴 언더팬즈 - Captain Underpants series. Similar to Dog Man. My daughter didn't take to these books, but I'm sure a lot of kids would love them.

  10. 디즈니 책 무비 동화 - Disney Movie Books. Just like the movie songs, Disney does a good job of translating, and the fact that the books are movie stills is very captivating.

  11. 멋쟁이 낸시 - Fancy Nancy. The best part is that the hard vocabulary is embedded into the story. Nancy explains everything.

  12. 신기한 스쿨버스 - Magic School Bus. Science exploration. Poor Arnold.

  13. 지브리 애니메이션 시리즈 - Ghibli Animation Series. I have to say that these are my favorite. There are times when the language gets a little poetic to describe the scene, and I love it. The translations seem to be very good to me, but I'm also not fluent, so what do I know.

  14. 브리태니커 만화 백과 - Britannica Kids' Library. My daughter loves the characters in this series, much like the Why? and 한자 만화 series that are out there. I love that the series has a variety of topics, ranging from engineering to science to fashion and music. 

  15. 자연 백과 사전 - DK Nature Encyclopedia. I have always loved DK books. I think they do a great job of breaking things down into the simplest steps.

  16. 세계사를 한눈에 꿰뚫는 대단한 지리 - Tim Marshall's Prisoners of Geography for Kids. It's an amazing book that we haven't gotten to reading yet, but I love that it's in English and in Korean. 

© 2020 by Andrea Yun

ayun (at) umich.edu